The block-slicing rhythm game Beat Saber has become so popular and such a huge success that it's now included with every new Meta Quest 2 headset. So even if you're the kind of player who fears getting laughed at during wedding receptions or tripping over your own feet while you're tripping the light fantastic, you don't have to fear Beat Saber.
Beat Saber, the VR music game from the Czech-based Beat Games, is popular and on every major VR headset like the Oculus Quest 2 and Playstation VR because it's so accessible. Anyone can pick up the moves of Beat Saber and play it and even get good at it. You just gotta know how to get into the groove of it.
Stretch out and get limber before you smash the first block
Beat Saber is a game that relies a lot on movement and reacting at just the right time. So if your arms and legs are feeling like columns of Jello, you're not just going to get a low score. You're not going to have a lot of fun.
So take a few moments before you start to do a couple of stretches and get the blood flowing through your system before you jump into the first song. Even on Beat Saber's easiest level, it can feel like you're doing a short stint of military calisthenics if you don't give yourself time to get the cobwebs out of those muscles. You don't need to do 100 squat thrusts or run a five-minute mile to get warmed up for a game. Just give your arms a couple of good stretches and maybe walk around a little bit to get ready to slice and dice.
Start slow and then immediately make the game harder
Some say you should go at your own pace but that's not how Beat Saber works. It's an unrelenting, non-stop juggernaut of beats and blocks. So don't waste your time taking it slowly once you learn the mechanics of the game. It's better to just jump in head first right out of the starting gate.
If you're brand new to the game, then you should start on the easier levels just to learn the kinds of things the game will throw out at you. Start by playing the first couple of levels in the Campaign mode. The first three songs by Jaroslav Beck including Beat Saber, $100 Bills, and Legend are great for newcomers because they offer a fun, steady pace and help get you used to the speed and directions you'll need to react to on the harder stuff.
Once you get those nailed down, it's time to step things up by more than a few steps. Jump into the hard mode in the Solo tab on the front page at the minimum and keep playing them until you can make it through a song without the round shutting down. You will fail A LOT but you'll skip a bunch of steps and get used to the neck-breaking speed of the game very quickly.
Speaking of making it the end of a song...
Turn on "Auto Restart on Fail" mode
When you start playing around with the harder difficulties in Solo mode, make you turn on the Auto Restart mode. It's located at the bottom of the list of settings next to the main screen.
When Beat Saber runs in its default mode, it will end a song early if you're not hitting enough blocks or missing enough walls and bombs in time. You want to keep this fail mode on while you're training yourself because you need the stakes to keep you moving and on your toes. It can get annoying, however, to keep restarting the same level over and over again. This feature will just let you try again so it'll build up your muscle memory on the songs and maybe even your actual muscles if you work up enough of a sweat.
Beat Saber is about reacting, not memorizing
Memorizing really doesn't play to your strengths when you're competing in Beat Saber. The reason it's so accessible and popular is that, unlike other rhythm games, you need timing more than you need memory. It doesn't hurt if you know the songs you're slicing blocks to and just like when you listen to music in the not virtual world, your brain will learn the words and beats of a song just through sheer repetition.
Beat Saber's setting gives you a long perspective for your eye line so you can see the block coming even as you're responding to a set that's right in front of you. Get used to looking out toward the edge of the horizon while keeping the view right in front of you just at the bottom of your eye. This will keep you from having to dart your gaze back and forth in the harder moments and it'll help improve your timing when you need to hit what's coming even if you're not looking directly at it.
If you have headphones, use them
Beat Saber also requires a great deal of concentration and focus. A rhythm game requires timing and timing requires concentration and focus.
So if you've got a pair of earbuds and headphones, plug them in and wear them while you play. Off-ear headphones like the Logitech Chorus are even better because they are attached to the headset and move with you. There's also less of a risk of them falling off or out of your ear. If you're using something that requires Bluetooth, make sure it can keep up with the music. Having delayed audio won't help you at all.
Make it fun and practice on songs you like
Beat Saber at its core is also a music game and if you're not liking the tune, then unplug the jukebox and pick a song you know and like.
It's worth repeating that the best way to learn how to beat Beat Saber is through repetition. So you shouldn't make yourself listen to music that you don't like. Fortunately, the Beat Saber library is growing its library with special DLC packs featuring tunes by Lady Gaga, Skrillex, The Weeknd, and Lizzo. There are even ways to upload your own music and custom tracks to the game if you're willing to go without updates for a while.
The Meta (Oculus) Quest 2 is still by far the best VR experience that you can actually buy, and it's games like Beat Saber that will show you why!
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Danny Gallagher is a freelance tech, game and comedy writer based out of Dallas, Tex. He's written features for places like CNET, Cracked, Maxim, Mandatory and The Onion AV Club. He's also written material for games produced by Jackbox Games and SnapFingerClick.